1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years
2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).
Some other housecleaning:
A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.
B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.
C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.
D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.
As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.
[June 29]--Gifts and Responsibility
I know I’ve admitted this before, but in case you’re tuning in late: Yes, I’m a comic-book geek. I’m a big fan of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the X-men, the Fantastic Four, etc. And of course one of my favorites is Spider-man.
One of the reasons I like them so much is because of the underlying message for all of them. If you’ve been given special abilities, you need to use those gifts to help others and fight for what’s right, especially in standing up for those who can't defend themselves. If you’re a fan of Spider-man (or have seen the movies), you know the slogan I’m going to bring up here: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Of course the writers of comic books mostly aren’t Christians (or even theists), so I always feel like asking them “Great responsibility to whom or to what?” You can’t just be responsible to yourself. You have to be responsible (or accountable) to something or someone higher than yourself.
That’s where today’s passage comes in. The Bible’s clear that there’s one Person who has given us all our skills, innate talents, and abilities. Actually, strictly speaking he hasn’t “given” them to us, in the common sense of that word. When we say someone has “given” me something, it’s mine to A) keep and B) do with as I please. There’s absolutely nothing that God has given us which qualifies.
You might be thinking “Well Keith, you believe that you can’t lose your salvation. Are you going back on that by saying that it’s not mine to keep?” Nothing doing. No, you can’t lose your salvation. But you’re not supposed to keep it to yourself. You’re supposed to spread it around!
That’s the closest thing to an exception that I can think of. Every penny he’s “given” me, every talent/spiritual gift, every relationship, and every other resource he’s made available to me will have to be given back to him someday. I won’t get to keep any of it.
Also I need to remember that everything that God has given me will be the subject of a conversation I’m going to have with him someday. He’s going to point to X and ask “Keith, I provided you with X, so what did you do with it?” That’s what I mean when I say that he’s going to hold us accountable for what we do with what he’s given us.
Now let’s get to the specific gift Jesus is talking about in today’s passage, namely spiritual truth. The Lord Jesus had revealed things to his disciples that no other human had ever seen or heard. And the end result of this would be that they were to shout it from the housetops. A candle does no good under a bed.
And here’s the main point of what I’ve been leading up to. You need to “consider carefully how you listen.” Notice the warning presented right after that verse. If you put your “light” under the bed, if you fail to broadcast what God has revealed to you, then what you have will be taken away. This isn’t referring to your salvation, but to your effectiveness.
Why are so many of the mainline denominations falling away from the truth? Well, my pet theory is because they didn’t put a priority on evangelism and missions. Jesus told us“Go and make disciples of all nations. . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” and they stopped listening. And whatever connection they had with God’s truth was eventually lost.
If that doesn’t sober you regarding the state of the church in America, it should. America has—for a very very long time—been the vanguard for missions and evangelism. That’s changing. And if we continue to get distracted from that focus, we’re going to discover what little we had is now lost.
Lord Jesus, please put fire within our souls, a passion for reclaiming lost souls and seeing them become your followers. And let that start right here and now with me.